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374                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP
Meanwhile Karim Khan had reorganized his forces and
prepared to attack, not Mohamed Husayn Khan as might
be supposed, but Azad. The Afghan shut himself up in
Kazvin and from this centre was able to drive off the
Zand chief. Again Karim Khan retired on Isfahan and
again he advanced. On this occasion, in A.H. 1166 (1752),
he was defeated and was pursued right across Persia, past
Isfahan, to Shiraz. Even at his capital he was unable to
find refuge ; but, fleeing towards Bushire, he induced
Rustam Sultan, chief of Kisht, to come to his rescue.
On one of the difficult " ladders " of the Bushire road,
known as the Kotal-i-Kamarij, the Afghans pursued Karim
Khan, who awaited them in the valley below. No sooner
were they entangled in the almost perpendicular descent
than Rustam Sultan attacked them. The Afghans, caught
in a trap, fought bravely ; but their army was almost an-
nihilated, some fugitives alone escaping, and Karim Khan,
reinforced by the Arab chiefs, was soon back at Shiraz.
The Final Campaign, A.H. 1171 (1757).—The defeat
of Azad was followed by a campaign in Azerbaijan, in the
course of which the Kajar captured the chief centres of
the province. Azad disappeared from the list of pre-
tenders, and after having been for some time a fugitive,
surrendered to Karim Khan. The extraordinary confidence
in the high character of his rival which this surrender
showed was fully justified, for Azad was treated with the
utmost kindness and generosity.
In the following year Mohamed Husayn Khan marched
south against the Zand chief with a strong army fresh from
victories in Azerbaijan, and the prize seemed within his
grasp. Karim Khan, unable to meet him in the field, held
Shiraz, and harassed the foraging parties of the invaders.
He had carefully provisioned the city, but had laid the
neighbourhood waste. He then applied himself to
corrupting the leaders of the Kajar army, and with such
success that Mohamed Husayn Khan, deserted by con-
tingent after contingent, was forced to retire without
fighting a single engagement. The last blow in the
campaign was struck by Shaykh Ali Khan, under whom
served the picked troops of the Zand chief. Mohamed